Workers protest unsafe conditions and lack of payment in South Sudan‘s oil industry
March 6, 2019
by Francis Michael Gwang
Another bad day for South Sudan’s oil industry and government.
After being charged by a UN human rights commission with being complicit in crimes against humanity and the environment, and specifically with facilitating and financing mass killings, rape, torture and economic cleansing, the industry and the government are now facing a new problem.
South Sudanese workers staffing oil processing facilities and pipelines have started demonstrating for safe operating conditions and for back pay.
The workers’ demands:
That Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC), one of South Sudan’s major oil consortia, stop dragging its feet on implementing programs for the improvement of work conditions. These programs were originally supposed to be instituted no less than six years ago.
That GPOC respect the order issued by South Sudan’s minister of petroleum, Ezekiel Luol Gartthkoth, which is for the workers’ being paid back pay and a variety of allowances and subsidies owed to them – in some cases since 2013.
The workers have announced that a failure to meet their demands will cause them to go on strike and to sue the GPOC and the government.
GPOC is owned by China National Petroleum Corporation (40%), Petronas of Malaysia (30%), India’s ONGC Videsh (25%) and Nilepet (5%).